Publication Date: 3rd May 2016 from Gallery Threshold
Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.
Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.
I do love a good post apocalyptic trilogy (or indeed standalone novel) and Francesca Haig’s “The Fire Sermon” was absolutely top notch, not only because of the beautiful writing but because of the wide imaginative scope, the endearing characters and perhaps most of all the ability the author has to dump unexpected trauma onto you. A writer that is fearless is one that I admire, The Fire Sermon often surprised, always delighted and the final pages had me reeling. So to say that I was excited to read Map of Bones would be putting it mildly.
The second book then, often the one in the middle that fails slightly to deliver – not in the case of The Map of Bones which if anything just took off at a gallop. Following on immediately in the aftermath of part one, the ripples of those events heading ever outwards, once more we join up with Cass for the next part of her intense and often emotional journey. Determined to stop her brother fulfilling his twisted plans for what is left of humanity, Cass faces down a future that would scare the most stoic of us. Worse for her, she can see what is coming, what has gone before and is often powerless to make sense of it all.
This then is the world that Francesca Haig throws you into, one of conflict and betrayal, hope and despair, once again she keeps the reader on their toes as the plot thickens – every time I think I know what is coming she throws me a curveball. This is not only terrifically emotive storytelling but descriptively gorgeous, the landscape which the surviving generations of “before” inhabit is bleak yet often beautiful and creating visual imagery with language is one of the strengths here.
Cass is surrounded by a supporting cast of cleverly drawn characters, the author creating a group dynamic of unexpected allies, strange companions and ever changing loyalties – the interweaving of relationships another strength, you just live these peoples lives right alongside them. Hugely fascinating and complex is the twin relationship, specifically that between Cass and Zack, after all one cannot live without the other no matter how at odds they are. This creates some wonderful and heart stopping moments when they are in confrontation. The twin dynamic as a whole gives the author a really good chance to explore very real social issues in a totally imagined environment – she does that with bells on. The Fire Sermon and Map of Bones will make you think and consider. I wasn’t always necessarily on the side of the angels here…
Overall a really really great read. Once again I’ve reached the end and gone “OH NO WHAT NOW? How will I wait?” But wait I will because one thing is for sure I’m in this to the finish. I do like a novel that creates fear in me. Fear of the unknown because I am attached like a limpet to Cass, to Piper, to all of them, yes even Zach. I’ve bonded. Because I never learn. But then thats what great writing does.
Passionate and intense, evocative and involving, Map of Bones (and The Fire Sermon) come highly recommended from me.
Find out more here:
Follow the author on Twitter here.
To purchase Map of Bones clickety click right HERE
Also Available: Read First
For The Fire Sermon, clickety click right HERE
Happy Reading Folks!